Over the last year or two, I have read numerous articles and opinions on the topic of Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania.
The recent opinion expressed by the Altoona Mirror (November 3, "Sundays should stay as day of rest, for hunters and animals") has finally prompted me to voice my opinion as well as some facts, which seem to have been omitted from everything I have read thus far.
The blue law that prohibits Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania dates back to 1873 and was enacted to preserve the Sabbath.
In this day and age of religious freedom and equality for the various faiths in our society, a law based on these Christian morals is biased and discriminatory. Law based on religious beliefs is a clear violation of the separation of church and state.
Who is to decide exactly what constitutes a "day of rest?"
To me a day of rest is any day I do not have to go to work, and thus allowing me to spend my time pursuing activities I find enjoyable and relaxing. Why should I be limited in these activities due to other people's religious beliefs, irrational fears or selfishness?
The idea of a "day of rest" for animals is absurd.
All wild animals are part of the food chain. Every day is a matter of survival for them, no matter if the threat is from humans, enemies or predators. If they take "a day of rest" as implied, they will end up being food for a higher level of the chain.
Anyone who believes that animals can differentiate between a "day of rest" and any other day has been watching too many cartoons.
Much has been written about outdoor enthusiasts supporting the Sunday ban based on fears that they may be mistaken for game animals and shot.
However, there are no statistics to back up these fears. In reality, statistics show that a person is far more likely to be involved in dangerous accidents while pursuing everyday activities and athletic sports.
Landowners who oppose Sunday hunting have every right to limit hunting on their property, but those who threaten to eliminate all hunting are acting irrationally and doing more harm than good.
Hunting provides a means to control wildlife populations that would otherwise grow uncontrolled, causing more wildlife-vehicle collisions, disease, starvation and crop damage.
The residents of Pennsylvania are fortunate in the amount of land open to the public for outdoor pursuits such as hunting and non-hunting activities, including hiking, biking, horseback riding, etc.
None of these activities should be limited disproportionately than the others. Non-hunting activities can be disruptive to hunters and their game, but I don't ever recall seeing hunting groups lobbying for a ban of non-hunting activities on any particular day.
I'm sure that the same people who support the ban on Sunday hunting would be furious if anyone attempted to limit non-hunting activities on Saturdays, for example.